For the second time, Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai has lost out on an opportunity to host the Indian Premier League (IPL) final, despite having the right to do so.
On Wednesday, the Bombay High Cout asked the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to move all the IPL games out of drought-hit Maharashtra post April 30 including the final at the Wankhede on May 29. While the news might have been disappointing for many city fans, it is not the first time that the iconic venue has been deprived of a chance to host the finale.
In 2014, the title clash between Kolkata Knight Riders and Kings XI Punjab was snatched away from the Wankhede to the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru under the then interim BCCI president (IPL affairs) Sunil Gavaskar.
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There were various theories and reasons given by the Board, like lack of quality of the stadium’s hospitality box, shortage of VVIP car parking spaces and the Wankhede ban on KKR co-owner Shah Rukh Khan. Many e-mails were exchanged between the parent body and the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA), but the real reason never came out on in the open.
Like in 2014, Mumbai had the right to host the final this time too, for as per the tradition of the league, the title holders get the opportunity to host the opener as well as the final. Mumbai Indians have been robbed off that chance both the times, despite being winners in 2013 and 2015.
However, the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai hosted two IPL finals – in 2008 and 2010 – when the Wankhede was under renovation to host the 2011 World Cup final. Incidentally, it was immediately after the 2010 final that former IPL chairman Lalit Modi was removed.